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Southwestern adds 8 to faculty; trustees approve record budget

FORT WORTH, Texas (BP)–Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary trustees elected seven faculty members, including two women, during their April 8-10 meeting, with an additional faculty member being added by presidential appointment.

Elected to the faculty were Jeffrey Bingham, Kevin Kennedy, Sheri Klouda, Eric Mitchell, Calvin Pearson, Teresa Stovall and Scott Swain. Seminary President Kenneth S. Hemphill appointed Craig Mitchell as instructor in Christian ethics. Mitchell becomes the seminary’s second African American faculty member.

“Southwestern may have the greatest faculty in our history. These new faculty appointments only add to the diversity and quality of our faculty,” Hemphill said. “There really is not a comparable faculty anywhere in the nation.”

Craig Blaising, provost and executive vice president, echoed Hemphill’s sentiment. “With the faculty I have emphasized two things: quality and integrity. We want to bring on faculty who are with us in integrity, in line with the Baptist Faith and Message, and we want them to be in line with us in quality — not only in the classroom, but also professionally.”

Bingham, formerly research professor in historical theology at Dallas Theological Seminary, joins the faculty as professor of historical theology. Bingham received his Th.M. and Ph.D. degrees from Dallas Theological Seminary after earning his undergraduate degree from New Mexico State University. He is the author of numerous articles and monographs on the early church fathers.

“Dr. Bingham is internationally known and respected for his work on the early church. He is esteemed as a mentor of students and brings a pastoral concern to the ministry of the classroom,” Blaising said.

Kennedy joins the faculty as assistant professor of theology. Kennedy received his undergraduate degree from Liberty University in Virginia and a master of divinity from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, N.C., and has completed his Ph.D. at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky. Kennedy is the author of “Union with Christ as Key to John Calvin’s Understanding of the Extent of the Atonement,” forthcoming from Peter Lang Publishing.

Klouda, who joins the faculty as assistant professor of Old Testament language, anticipates the completion of her Ph.D. at Southwestern in May. She received bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Criswell College in Dallas. Klouda formerly served as assistant professor of biblical Hebrew at Beeson Divinity School at Samford University in Alabama.

Eric Mitchell joins the faculty as assistant professor of biblical backgrounds and archaeology. After graduating from Baylor University, he received a master of divinity from Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary in Memphis. He has served as an instructor of Old Testament interpretation at Southern Seminary since 1999. He anticipates the completion of his Ph.D. in December.

Pearson, a doctor of ministry graduate from Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary in Massachusetts, received a master of divinity from Southwestern and a master of theology from Dallas Theological Seminary. He completed undergraduate studies at Houston Baptist University. Pearson joins the faculty as associate professor of preaching.

Stovall, who recently received the Southern Baptist Research Fellowship’s Outstanding Research Award for her dissertation, “A Study of the Differences Between Growing, Declining, Plateaued, and Erratic Growth Southern Baptist Churches in Texas,” joins the faculty as assistant professor of adult education and aging in the school of educational ministries. A graduate of Texas A&M University, she received a master of arts in religious education and Ph.D. from Southwestern.

Swain, who anticipates the completion of a Ph.D. at Trinity Evangelical Divinity in Deerfield, Ill., in May, joins the faculty as assistant professor of theology. Swain received master of divinity with biblical languages and master of theology degrees from Southeastern Seminary. He completed undergraduate studies at the University of North Florida.

Mitchell, who joins the faculty by presidential appointment, will serve as instructor of Christian ethics. A retired Air Force officer, Mitchell completed a master of divinity at Southwestern and is currently pursuing his Ph.D. He received undergraduate degrees from Savannah State College in Savannah, Ga., and the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, Calif. He received two master’s degrees from West Coast University in Los Angeles.

Hemphill called Mitchell “an up and coming ethicist in Southern Baptist life.”

The faculty appointments came during the bi-annual trustee meeting, held in the seminary’s new Ralph M. Smith Leadership Development Complex. During the meeting, trustees approved a record budget of $30.3 million for the 2002-2003 fiscal year. The previous budget for the 2001-2002 fiscal year was $29.6 million.

Recent budget increases have allowed the seminary to increase faculty salaries and become self-insured, Hubert Martin, vice president of finance, told trustees. “For the first time, our salaries are the top among our sister seminaries. Over the last four years, we have made significant progress,” Martin said.

Jack Terry, vice president of institutional advancement, reported that charitable giving rose 40 percent in the past year while most secular charities suffered declines in contributions after Sept. 11. “The gifts that we have received are a reflection on our president. People don’t give money to leaders that they don’t trust,” Terry said.

Hemphill told trustees the seminary was in a stable position within the Southern Baptist Convention. Southwestern is strong, Hemphill said, because few other institutions blend the practical and theological the way Southwestern does. The seminary is particularly strong in the area of missions, he said.

“When we talk about missions,” Hemphill said, “we do not mean a missions department. We mean a missions mindset across the whole school. We want theologians, church musicians and Christian educators who have a heart for missions.”

The desire to minister around the world, Hemphill said, reflects Southwestern’s global emphasis.

“Southwestern is the global seminary of the Southern Baptist Convention. Our enrollment of international students has increased from 138 to 245 [in recent years], and that is only one way that globalization is expressed.”

Although the seminary’s international student population has increased, spring enrollment has decreased from 3,004 to 2,839. David McQuitty, dean of student services, said he wasn’t concerned about the decline in enrollment.

“Enrollment may be slightly down, but we are ‘uptimistic’ about the future,” McQuitty said. “This is a place where students train to touch the world. … You watch enrollment. I’m ‘uptimistic’ about it.”

In other business, trustees:

— re-elected Michael Dean for a second term as trustee chairman and David Allen and Matthew McKellar as vice chairman and secretary, respectively.

— approved a new 48-hour master of arts in worship and a new 52-hour master of music with a concentration in worship. “We are excited about these new music degrees. They will put us on the cutting edge of church music and will add some theology to the core for the degrees,” said Denny Autry, chair of the academic affairs committee.

— promoted William Caldwell to distinguished professor of administration and John Babler to associate professor of social work and ministry-based evangelism.

— granted tenure to Norma Hedin, associate professor of foundations of education; Marsha McQuitty, associate professor of childhood education; and Robert Welch, associate professor of administration. All have been serving since 1991.

— revised the seminary’s bylaws to reflect the role of the new executive vice president and provost.

— passed a resolution thanking the Oklahoma Baptist Messenger for 90 years of faithful service.

— passed a resolution thanking Ralph Pulley for his service as a Southwestern seminary trustee for 22 years.

— passed a resolution commending all seminary faculty, staff and students who worked on the 10-year reaccreditation of the seminary, announced by the Association of Theological Schools (ATS) in January.
(BP) photos posted in the BP Photo Library at http://www.bpnews.net. Photo titles: 22 YEARS OF SERVICE, TRUSTEE’S INQUIRY, TRUSTEES RETIRE and TRUSTEE TENURE ENDS.

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  • Gregory Tomlin